Midori shares love of music

International violin virtuoso to perform benefit concert

International violin virtuoso to perform benefit concert

November 02, 2006|by JULIE E. GREENE

When Midori Goto was 14 years old, the great composer Leonard Bernstein got down on one knee to give her a bear hug as the audience stood applauding her resilient and brilliant performance of Bernstein's Serenade with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

She had broken her E string during the fifth movement and, per protocol, was passed the concertmaster's violin, which was much larger than her own. Midori (her performing name) kept playing. Again, she broke the E string and took the violin of the associate concertmaster to continue.

"The third string broke. That happens sometimes under the pressure of humidity" at an outdoor venue such as Tanglewood, Midori recalled matter-of-factly in a recent phone interview from her home in Los Angeles.

Now 35 and a world-renowned violinist, the violin virtuoso will perform Sunday afternoon with longtime pianist partner Robert McDonald at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in City Park.


Proceeds from the benefit concert will go into an endowment fund named for Midori to pay for future free Sunday afternoon concerts at the museum. Since the museum opened in 1931, it has hosted concerts as well as classes and art exhibits. Eighty-one of 106 available tickets were sold by Wednesday afternoon.

The concert is being sponsored by the Garland E. Groh Foundation Inc., The M&T Bank Charitable Foundation and Midori's Partners in Performance organization. The organization's goal is to help chamber music reach broader audiences by bringing high-profile performances to small, community-based organizations.

Though it would be easy for musicians to get a career just playing in big cities, live performances shouldn't be limited to those venues, Midori said, adding that musicians have to make a special effort to broaden the audience.

As a teacher at the University of Southern California, Midori has her students perform at several campus spots outside the music building so they can learn to engage new audiences.

One of the most important things musicians can do is be proactive in familiarizing their audiences with the music, Midori said. This includes making the music accessible and talking to audiences about it.

Midori said she looks forward to talking to the audience after her performance in the museum's intimate Bowman Concert Gallery.

Midori said she doesn't like to tell people to listen for a certain aspect of a composition or what to think of it.

"Come with an open mind," she said.

Video footage showing parts of Midori's 1986 concert at Tanglewood with conductor Leonard Bernstein and the Boston Symphony Orchestra can be viewed at www.leonard, by typing "Midori" into the site search box.

If you go ...

WHAT: Midori

WHEN: 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5

WHERE: Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, City Park, Hagerstown

COST: $150 per person

MORE: For tickets, call the museum at 301-739-5727, ext. 10, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Friday. Call ext. 11 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Call the museum Sunday between 1 and 2 p.m. to check ticket availability. Doors to the performance open at 2:45 p.m. A reception honoring the musicians will follow the concert.

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